Transparent and En”lightening” News from Path of the Heart Peru; June 2014

At Orchid it’s about being transparent and enlightened

That’s why we work so hard to bring you updates from the field as often as we can.

Our mission in Peru; Path of the Heart, sent us this grant report and these photo’s to let our advocates know their investments are finding their way to the people they want to serve.

Report to Orchids of Light Foundation on the Estancia Solar Light Installation– Sanctuary of Universal Love, Inc. d/b/a Path of the Heart:

Orchids of Light Foundation granted to Sanctuary of Universal Love, Inc. d/b/a Path of the Heart (POTH) the amount of $4500 for a solar light project.  After consulting with board members in Peru, Washington Gibaja and Alicia Kozuch, a recommendation was made to the rest of the POTH board and to Orchids that the grant be used to provide solar lights for estancias in the highlands of the Andes to the villages of  Patacancha and Qelqanqa, very remote rural communities situated in the Ollantaytambo Mountains.  

Estancias are shelters where families stay for periods of time while they tend to their flocks or fields away from their homes. They are crude shelters without services and lighting. Families will either venture home in the dark, or cut their day short to walk safely home. Most days they will stay at their estancia, and burn candles for light. Candles are expensive, are dirty, cause health and fire hazards, and do not provide a good source of light. Several families will typically share an estancia – the average being three families per estancia.


Alicia who is an engineer with Buen Power was familiar with a solar light system which consists of 3 lights, with the ability to charge a cell phone, radio, and a small TV. With this system, the families will therefore be able to stay at their estancias overnight, and have more productive hours in a day. They will also have access to clean electricity, lessening their health and safety risks. Overall, more economic opportunity will be provided to these families, helping them to rise out of poverty.


The POTH board and Orchids approved the use of the grant for this purpose. Washi organized the project, met with the communities and determined which families were interested and wanted to participate. Each family was asked to make a contribution toward the cost of the system to the extent they could afford to. The systems were then ordered. Since they were manufactured in China, delivery took months and then seemed to be stalled in customs for an inordinate time. However, they were finally released to Buen Power and the installation was completed June 18, 2014.

Delivery day began at 4:30 a.m. and ended at 1:00 a.m. the following day. These are Alicia’s words to describing the day as she and Washi and her crew made the deliveries: 

‘It was an extremely long and grueling day (as always!). We started out at 4:30am, only to have a flat tire on the truck within the first 15 minutes. After we finally got the spare tire changed, we were on our way. We picked up 3 other helpers on the way, as we drove first from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, then to the communities of Patacancha, Qalqanqa and Yanamayu. The roads, as you may well know, go high into the mountains and are dangerous switchbacks all the way. Our saving grace was that it is not rainy season, so we were able to pass without incident, although we still had to drive slowly and with much caution.

We brought 18 BBOXX7 units, which consist of a 20 Watt Solar Panel, 7 amp hour Battery, Controller, 2 LED Lights, adapters for cellphone charging and radio, all necessary cables, sockets and switches. As the day progressed, we met with many different families in these communities that had been identified by the community Presidents. These families had shown interest in the solar lighting systems for their estancias, and were willing to contribute to the cost of the system. As the families are so spread out, we met with them in many different locations…. bringing the solar panel systems to them. In total, we made about 8 different stops. At each stop, we met with families, demonstrated the units and installation, and provided them with literature and contact information for follow-up trouble shooting.

Funds collected covered the difference in cost of the grant and actual system cost ($5220 – $4500), and some of the transportation and labor costs. The difference thFamilies contributed between 100 and 200 Soles per unit. The total amount at was not met was contributed by Buen Power Peru.”

They returned at 1:00 a.m. During the day the temperature fell as the day went on ending with freezing temperatures.

This project served 151 individuals and greatly enhanced their lives.  POTH is very grateful to have partnered with Orchids in this endeavor and hopes to continue the partnership with similar projects in the future.  We are very hopeful that at some point Orchids members and/or representatives will be able to visit Peru and see firsthand the results of these projects and meet some of the families whose lives have been changed due to the generosity of the Orchids of Light Foundation.





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